Bari is the capital of the province of Bari and of the Apulia (or Puglia) region, on the Adriatic sea, in Italy. It is the second economic centre of southern Italy and is well known as a port and university city, as well as the city of Saint Nicolas of Bari, the original of Santa Claus. The city itself has a decreasing population of 328,458 (2001) over 116 km2, while the fast-growing urban area counts 700.000 inhabitants over 203 km2. Another 500.000 people live in the metro area.
Bari consists of four different parts. On the north, the closely built old town on the peninsula between two modern harbours, with the splendid Basilica of San Nicola (Saint Nicholas), the Cathedral of San Sabino (1035 - 1171) and the Castello Svevo of Frederick II, is now also one of the major nightlife districts. The Murattiano section to the south, the modern heart of the city, is laid out on a rectangular plan with a promenade on the sea, and the major shopping district (the via Sparano and via Argiro).

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The more modern city surrounding this center was the result of chaotic development during the 1960s and 1970s over the old suburbs that had developed along roads splaying outwards from gates in the city walls. Finally, the outer suburbs have been in rapid development during the 1990s

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